The Democratic and Republican parties have warned that it could take weeks to decide the Nov. 2 election and have hired rival armies of attorneys and observers for the battle. \nWith US President George W. Bush and Democratic Senator John Kerry running neck-and-neck in opinion polls, both camps fear a repeat of the 2000 election debacle in Florida. \nKerry said on Sunday that he had put together a legal "dream team" to protect voter rights. \n"If it is a close election in any one state, it may be days or weeks before we know who the actual winner is," warned Tom Josefiak, general counsel for President Bush's campaign. \nIn Florida four years ago, a controversy erupted over punch-card ballots that often failed to clearly show which candidate's name was punched out. The confusion left the US without a clear election winner for 36 days until the Supreme Court, in a controversial 5 to 4 decision, halted a recount of Florida ballots. \nBush beat vice president Al Gore by 537 votes and the Florida result secured the presidency. \nThere are growing fears that the winner between Bush and Kerry will also not be announced on election night. \nProject Vote, a non-partisan organization, predicts a litany of lawsuits, notably regarding "provisional" ballots that allow people who are not sure whether they are registered to cast a vote, leaving authorities with the task of deciding whether the vote should be counted. \nLegal challenges could be filed against the accuracy of electronic voting machines that do not provide papers that could be used for a possible recount. \nThe Republican and Democratic parties will deploy tens of thousands of observers to monitor the election across the country and discourage attempts by both camps to intimidate voters. \nOn Sunday, Kerry said at an African American Baptist church in Ohio that he had put together a "voter protection dream team" of top lawyers to forestall vote fraud and disenfranchisement. \n"Let me just make clear to you, we are not going to let this be a repeat of 2000, we are not going to see a million African Americans deprived of their votes in America," he said. \nLawsuits contesting ballots, voter registration and voting machines have already been filed. \nElliot Mincberg, legal director of People for the American Way Foundation, said the early law-suits may help avoid post-poll challenges.
SEARCH CONTINUES: The fighter jet disappeared from radar screens at 3:23pm, about 30 minutes after it took off, air force Major General Liu Hui-chien said Search-and-rescue teams yesterday searched for an air force pilot after his F-16V Block 20 jet went missing during an afternoon bombing exercise near the coastline of Chiayi County’s Dongshih Township (東石鄉), the air force said. The search continued as of press time last evening. The single-seat jet (serial number 6650) disappeared from radar screens at 3:23pm, about 30 minutes after it took off from Chiayi Air Base, air force Inspector General Major General Liu Hui-chien (柳惠千) told a news conference in Taipei. All F-16Vs are temporarily suspended from exercises pending the completion of emergency checks on the fleet, he said. The fighter piloted by
LUNAR NEW YEAR: The nation is expecting 4,200 international travelers to arrive today and 3,900 tomorrow, as people return home for the holidays, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said it expects imported cases of COVID-19 to further increase today and tomorrow — the peak period for international arrivals before the Lunar New Year holiday. The nation has seen more imported cases of COVID-19 since it implemented a new policy on Tuesday requiring travelers on long-haul flights to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival. Those who test positive are taken directly to hospitals from airports. Most of the recent confirmed cases of COVID-19 were travelers arriving from the US, CECC data showed. On Tuesday, 58 of the 625 travelers arriving at Taiwan
PROTECTION: The New Taipei City mayor said a pass could cover stores, but not eateries, while Ko Wen-je said vaccinated people could be exempted from some rules Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) on Saturday proposed implementing a “COVID-19 pass” regulation that would allow only vaccinated people into certain areas. New Taipei City is planning to require a “COVID-19 pass” for entry to “vulnerable spaces” to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hou said. Non-students entering elementary schools in New Taipei City are required to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. This is for the protection of students under the age of 12, who are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, city officials have said. The
TRACEABLE: The expansion of a cluster infection appears to be slowing, as genome sequencing results show a clearer link among confirmed cases, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 96 COVID-19 infections: four domestic and 92 imported cases. Three of the domestically transmitted cases are bank workers likely linked to previously reported airport clusters, it added. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, attributed the high number of imported cases in part to the implementation on Tuesday of a tighter entry policy. Travelers arriving on long-haul flights are immediately tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and must wait for results of their rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on site. Those who test negative are allowed to proceed with normal